Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gaajar ka Halwa - Carrot Halwa


I've been making sweets to give away to friends and had repeated the coconut burfi recipe twice over the past 2 weeks. I wanted to try something different this time and chose gaajar ka halwa as I had bought a kilo of carrots last weekend and thought it was a good idea to use em up.
I went through a lot of recipe videos such as Vahchef, Showmethecurry and Sanjeev Kapoor or another one on Sanjeev Kapoor's site. All have different approaches and claim to be very easy. One roasts ghee and nuts in the beginning and add milk and carrots to it. Others do the milk and carrots first and then add the roasted nuts and ghee to it. Some pressure cook and some microwave. Some use khoya, some use curdled milk and some use condensed milk. I was a bit confused after watching them all that I finally mixed em all up into a new approach. I don't have a microwave and I don't want to risk doing it in a pressure cooker, so I did the traditional open pot method. It wasn't so tasking as they said it was, in fact quite enjoyable mixing the carrots and milk regularly and loving the aroma of the steam from the evaporating milk. I wanted to use sweetened condensed milk as I had an open can, so I did not add any extra sugar, the sweetness was just right. I also thought that if I used nuts in the beginning, they can soften up with the milk and carrots cooking with it and you'll miss the nice crunch. So I did it both ways. Here's how:


Carrots - 1 kilo (about 10 carrots, peeled and grated)
Milk - 400 ml (half the amount of carrots)
Condensed milk - 400 ml
Chopped almonds - few
Chopped cashews - few
Raisins - few
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
Ghee - 4 tbsp.


Grate the carrots and set them aside. I used about a kilo of carrots which came to around 2 cups of grated carrots. In a heavy bottomed pan, (use a vessel with a large diameter to help the milk evaporate quicker) add 2 tbsp ghee. When the ghee melts, add half the chopped cashews, almonds and raisins. Roast them until they start browning. Now add the grated carrots, little by little (if you add all at once, you might find it difficult to stir). Add the milk to the carrots immediately and keep stirring to prevent the carrots from sticking to the bottom or sides of the pan. Once all the carrots have been added, keep stirring at regular intervals to prevent the carrots from sticking to the pan. Allow the milk to boil. Simmer and continue stirring allowing the milk to evaporate and reduce. You can notice that the volume of the carrots also reduce as it oozes out its water content. Increase the stirring intervals when the milk is almost completely absorbed. Now add the condensed milk and stirring again. I found that it reduced faster than the milk. Once all the condensed milk has reduced, take it off the stove. Add a teaspoon of cardamom powder and mix. In another pan, add 2 tablespoons of ghee and roast the remaining nuts and raisins. Add them to the halwa and serve. (for more colour, one can also use red/orange food color, but it looks good anyway!)